Great fishing conditions but not many fishermen on the water


Water and weather conditions are absolutely perfect, but there aren’t many anglers out on the water. That’s probably typical considering most people are getting back into the swing of getting the kids to school and it’s the week before Labor Day weekend. The water will surely be more crowded once the weekend arrives.

Right now it's just you, the fish, and plenty of wildflowers on the stream

Right now it's just you, the fish, and plenty of wildflowers on the stream

Charity and I have been fortunate enough to land a couple of tickets to the re-dedication of Great Smoky Mountains National Park at Newfound Gap, so we won’t be fishing on Wednesday but here’s how the fishing will be.

Expect perfect conditions on any of the mountain streams from the Tellico River basin up into the Smokies. Dry fly fishing has been quite good, particularly in the pockets and riffles. Small patterns in the range of #18 have performed best.

Anyone who hikes in to a more remote location shouldn’t need to be too choosy about fly selection. Virtually any bushy dry fly in the #14-16 size range should attract plenty of trout.

There is actually a decent window for wading on several of the tailwaters. The Clinch is still pumping the water so mark that one of the list until Saturday, but it will fish when the generation backs off. Have midge larva and pupa patterns ready.

The Holston River below Cherokee Dam has a bit of a window but get there early while the water is cool. If you’re as far down river as Nances Ferry focus on smallies, not trout.

The South Holston and Watauga will both provide windows of opportunity for waders, particularly lower down where it takes water several hours to arrive after generation starts. Sulphurs are still popping.

The Hiwassee is probably best left to those who know the river. Get there early but expect one turbine to push water early. There are wadeable sections of the Hiwassee under these conditions, but not suitable for everyone. Expect the second generator to start up by late morning.



  1. David Anderson says:

    Have you ever thought about a photo page? I have been reading your reports for some time now and have always enjoyed the pictures you post.

    • Thanks, David. We’re trying to include more photos with the fishing reports because we keep hearing comments like that.